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Outsiders vs. Insiders: Election year, so what? Republicans should go big or go home in 2018

It goes without saying most people enter politics to accomplish something. If the schools in your neighborhood are inadequate, for example, you might run for School Board; or if you’re a community organizer with a golden voice and gift for oratory, you might run for the state legislature and then the United States Senate and after a couple years in the upper chamber, maybe even president of the United States.

Or if you’re Donald Trump you jump head-first into the political fray with a simply stated goal to Make America Trump DACAGreat Again.

But invariably even the most idealistic of would-be officeholders brush up against political actualities once they dip their toe in the Washington swamp. Harsh realities rule the day as Republican leaders meet this week to discuss their legislative agenda for the year ahead – and already it looks as though everyone’s political wish-lists are conflicting with what’s possible in today’s hopelessly divided political environment.

Sarah Westwood reported in the Washington Examiner, “President Trump or senior White House officials are slated to meet at least twice with GOP congressional leaders next week as Republican lawmakers prepare to return to Washington amid uncertainty about which of the big-ticket items on their legislative agenda they will prioritize first...

“Beyond the immediate need to fund the government past mid-January, the next focus of congressional leaders appears less clear. The White House, Ryan, and McConnell have each expressed interest in pursuing different policies in the new year as Republicans continue to ride high on the successful passage of their tax reform bill earlier this month.”

Yes, as Westwood correctly pointed out, the most immediate need is to agree to some sort of budget before January 19 arrives, the day when the government technically runs out of money and would henceforth shutdown. Without delving too deeply into the obvious fallacies advanced by certain politicians claiming the government could ever “run out of money”, it’s sad to think mere political differences between the two parties would force the cessation of government because there aren’t appropriated funds to pay federal employees or maintain services.

Of course military members would get paid as would social security recipients and nearly everyone else who depends on the government for basic subsistence. Still the Washington politicians hem and haw about how much people would “suffer” if Congress fails to pass a budget. It’s old news – let’s move on.

The more immediate concern for the party in power is how to follow-up on last month’s successful passage of the most substantial tax reform since the 1980’s. There appears to be a difference of opinion between the leaders of the executive and legislative branches on what to do next. President Trump’s recent tweets indicate he’s looking to work on immigration and infrastructure in 2018 while Speaker Paul Ryan aspires to tackle the start of an entitlement makeover and possibly welfare reform.

Meanwhile the deadline for extending the now infamous Obama-inspired Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program arrives in early March, so there isn’t much time remaining for party leaders to hammer out a compromise that will command a majority of votes in the House and Senate (which requires 60 votes on some issues). Common sense suggests the matter will go up until the last moment when one side will inevitably cave to perceived political pressure. Republicans are almost always the first to go wobbly, though with Trump the dynamic may have changed.

Democrats likely won’t cooperate in an election year where they hope to squelch the Trump agenda through adding more party members to the federal legislature, so anything that gets done will probably be accomplished through single party votes.

Regardless, Trump is still encouraging Democrats to come along. Westwood’s article contains a couple Trump quotes from an interview with the New York Times where the president expressed optimism that some issues will draw enthusiastic minority party support.

“We can make a great health care plan through bipartisanship. We can do a great infrastructure plan through bipartisanship. And we can do on immigration, and DACA in particular, we can do something that’s terrific through bipartisanship,” Trump said this week.

This is where swamp reality sets in. Democrats have shown no interest in working with Trump or Republican leaders on anything much less legislative proposals certain to be popular with the public. One would speculate something like infrastructure is non-controversial but Democrats have their union cronies to protect and aren’t prone to budge on something that might offer Americans the impression Trump is an effective leader.

Who can envision Chuck Schumer or Nancy Pelosi sitting in a meeting with Trump and Mike Pence promising to deliver Democrat votes for an item high up on the Trump agenda? Politics is politics – any “win” for the country at this point is a loss for the Democrats who desperately seek to keep people angry and depressed as possible in order to please their leftist donors.

That leaves only the fragile Republican majorities to consider. The House had a heck of a time passing an Obamacare repeal bill last year and the Senate goes into 2018 with only 51 Republican members. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has apparently already admitted he doesn’t have the numbers to pass a welfare reform package so the concept is effectively dead even before the House would act on proposals.

As for the Democrats – they see 2018 as the year to stop Trump’s momentum. W. James Antle III wrote in the Washington Examiner the other day, “Democrats enter 2018 hoping it will be the last year they are shut out of power in Washington. The midterm election campaign gives them a real shot at a place at the table — and, depending on the trajectory of the Russia probe, maybe even an opportunity to impeach President Trump.

“First things first, say congressional Democratic leaders who have so far tamped down calls by backbenchers and influential outsiders like billionaire environmentalist Tom Steyer to run on impeachment. Only 58 House Democrats voted against setting aside the motion of Rep. Al Green, D-Texas, to bring forth articles of impeachment while another four voted ‘present.’ Winning in November is the bigger priority…

“The election year will have Trump and congressional Republicans racing the clock. They will never be guaranteed unified control of the federal government again and need to pass as much as possible in 2018. Yet as November gets closer, it will be harder to get members seeking re-election to take politically challenging votes.”

It’s true; the contingent of House Tuesday Group RINOs is shaking in their boots at the thought of voting on any issue which polling shows is under 50 percent support with some key constituency dwelling within their districts. A party majority is a fine thing but so is keeping the promises made to the people who put them in office in the first place.

Party consultants advise these skittish congressmen to appeal to the lowest common denominator but it would make more sense for them to stick to the issues that won them their seats and let the chips fall as they may. Unfortunately far too many in the GOP ignore the dictates of wisdom and give undue credence to pollsters who are paid to tell them what’s going to make them lose.

Back in the days before there were organized American parties the Founding Fathers debated great concepts free from the bounds of faction. What would ensue now if there were modern-day ruling class-defending Democrats and gutless Republicans in the Virginia House of Burgesses, the governing body responsible for courageously advancing the cause of liberty in North America? Virginia was the first colony to direct its delegation (to the Continental Congress) to propose independence from Great Britain.

Virginia was also the first would-be member of the United States to adopt its own independent Constitution complete with a bill of rights.

Such political audacity is almost entirely absent from today’s Congress – and certainly finds no home with anyone in the leadership of either party. Thomas Jefferson famously wrote, “[W]hat country can preserve its liberties if their rulers are not warned from time to time that their people preserve the spirit of resistance? Let them take arms. The remedy is to set them right as to facts, pardon & pacify them. What signify a few lives lost in a century or two? The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots & tyrants. It is it’s natural manure.”

In our times, President Trump embodies much of the revolutionary spirit so prevalent in the late 1760’s prior to declaring separation from the mother country. Trump understands many of his actions will draw a harsh rebuke from his detractors yet he does them anyway. Trump calls for bipartisanship but doesn’t depend on it.

If Republicans lose their majorities it will be due to exercising too little political daring in 2018 -- not because they passed laws that polls indicate are unpopular. Democrats are the ones who overreach – just look at Obamacare. Everything on the Trump agenda enjoys majority public support if it’s disassociated from the tarnished Republican establishment brand.

Democrats also consistently fail to recognize the political writing on the wall. Take Senator Elizabeth “Pocahontas” Warren for instance. She’s setting the wheels in motion for a 2020 run against Trump. Gabriel Debenedetti of Politico reported, “The liberal icon and Republican bete noire has amassed more money in her campaign war chest than nearly any senator in modern history, groomed political connections with Democrats who've been skeptical of her in the past, and worked to bolster her bipartisan and foreign policy bona fides.

“It’s part of a conscious break from the heads-down posture that Warren purposefully maintained during the first five years of her Senate career, a wide range of Democrats close to the Massachusetts senator and her tight-knit political operation told POLITICO. And it’s representative of Warren’s tricky navigation between the wishes of advocates who want her cutting a clear path to 2020, and supporters who think her best bet is to run up the score in her reelection race this year.”

As would be expected from Politico, Debenedetti depicts Warren as moderating herself so as to appeal to the same party establishment elites who were completely in the tank for Crooked Hillary Clinton.

It won’t work.

A snake can shed its skin but a Democrat can’t shake the leftist label. Republicans who came to Washington intent on making change should carry through with their promises. Failing to do so will not only guarantee the downfall of President Trump’s winning agenda – it will spell the effective end of their political careers as well.

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The R's may be a bit in disarray internally, thanks to the RINO's that still exist but on the whole, the party is developing strength, learning to govern after be told not to for the last 10 years by the fallacious RINO leadership...the R's are gaining strength, they can use the mounting political ammo they are acquiring by economic improvement, new world and domestic policy that have inspired the nations financial health, the energy market is now becoming a world power, challenging the Saudi and the Russkies in the oil market and best of all we are going to be energy independent in excess sooner than forecasted by the money pundits...We, the US is now moving into tall cotton and back strain will be substantially less, the work load will increase but it will be one of love, our work ethic, skills and self reliance is coming in spades...The shackles of suppression from the Barry Sotero regime are being cut and the pace for a full recovery is in full swing...We are blessed, we need to mark this lesson from our past as non repeatable...never again......MAGA....America for Americans.....reduce the size, scope and intrusion of government....